Green Acres is definitely the place you want to be
“All the garlic is dug. Some varieties are already in short supply and won’t last long.”
The Green Acres U-Pick Facebook post grabbed our attention.
“Some varieties?” What did they mean by that? We know regular garlic and elephant garlic. There’s more?
The quick answer is yes — and we found a garlic farm.
Well, no. We found a farm that has 25 varieties of garlic (apparently, there are over 200 varieties or more, but this farm stopped at 25).
We arrived at Green Acres U-Pick in Palisade and found Bob and Elaine Korver working in front of their house. On a shaded table were boxes and boxes of garlic.
Each box was labeled with the variety of garlic and facts about its characteristics. Each garlic head was nicely cleaned and ready for use.
We learned so much about garlic. They have hard neck and soft neck varieties, and those are further broken down to porcelain hard neck, artichoke soft neck, Rocambole hard neck, turban hard neck and more.
The varieties originate from all over, including Siberia, Italy, Spain, Germany and Republic of Georgia. Some are best for cooking, some are best raw, some are mild and some are hot. You have a lot of options here.
We were hooked. What else could they teach us? The answer was plenty.
We went back a few days later. As we chatted and looked at their signs we saw they also grew all sorts of veggies. The Korvers’ mission is to grow foods from all over the world, things you won’t find at your local grocery store, and do it at an affordable price.
Consider peppers such as shishito and Padron, eggplants from Greece, Thailand, Taiwan and Italy. Other vegetables and fruits have the same range of variation. It’s all grown herbicide-free using sustainable farming techniques.
It turns out the reason the Korvers took on this 5-acre farm concept was to teach. Bob and Elaine are retired School District 51 and Western Slope educators who want to show kids where their food comes from and adults that there are more choices than what they could find in the grocery store.
While they delight in teaching adults, they absolutely thrive on giving kids an up-close-and-personal positive experience with food. They really demonstrate that latter interest with their pumpkin patch with multiple colors and sizes of pumpkins.
The pumpkin field is opened to a preschool in Palisade before it opens to the public. Kids can choose any pumpkin they want for $1. The catch is that they have to carry it back to their car themselves. This leads to some tots carrying a pumpkin not much lighter than they are. We bet this is even more fun for the adults to watch, but we’re pretty sure the kids are very proud of their pumpkins.
As for varieties of plants, here are a few notes from Bob and Elaine about what they are growing this year: nine types of onions, 16 types of lavender (and yes, they have their own still to get those essential oils), two types of kabocha squash, 35 varieties of tomatoes (cherries, heirlooms, plums, beefsteaks), 11 types of eggplant, three types of sweet potato.
Did you know you have to cure sweet potatoes at 85 degrees for 10 days after harvest? We didn’t. And we can only imagine the hot living for the Korvers for those 10 days, because they cure them in their house.
We were struck by their lavender. It is late in the season, but their lavender plants looked robust.
The Korvers have experimented with many ways of growing lavender. Some worked, some didn’t. But the Korvers learned, just like they want their customers to learn. And their lavender is internationally prize-winning. They have won two first places in Australian competitions and three silvers in New Zealand competitions judging lavender oils.
Here are people teaching children and adults about the joy of food and how it is produced, bringing international varieties of veggies to our locale, testing new agricultural techniques, competing and winning on the international field.
It’s a great example of living life deeper.